Episode 78.5 – Green Apple Slice


The Top Three Factors Driving Employee Burnout


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or Stitcher.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Forbes article, “The Top Three Factors Driving Employee Burnout” by Joyce Maroney.


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    John: Welcome back to another Monday episode of Green Apple Slices. I’ve got Rachel Fisch with me. Good morning, Rachel!

    Rachel: Good morning, John! How are you?

    John: I’m great! The queen extraordinaire of Deloitte Bookkeeping Canada —

    Rachel: I should put that on my business card.

    John: You should. Don’t ask me how to spell extraordinaire though. Is that Canadian, French-Canadian? I’m not even sure.

    Rachel: It’s just regular French, I think.

    John: Oh, it’s just regular French, all right. I’m excited to share an article with everybody, one that I read and I immediately thought of you because it’s titled —

    Rachel: It always makes me nervous when you say that. It’s never a flattering thing. I know that for sure.

    John: Yeah. You know what? You’re right actually, but the article on this one is “The Top Three Factors Driving Employee Burnout” and it was in Forbes written by Joyce Maroney and a really great article. I enjoyed the stuff that she had to say in it, mostly that they did a study by Kronos Incorporated and just said that 95% of HR leaders say that burnout is sabotaging the workforce and 95% is a lot.

    Rachel: Yeah, and if there’s an error range then I think it could possibly be a hundred. Who knows? Plus or minus 5%, right?

    John: Right, exactly. They do it in elections, so why not? So what do you think about the article when you had time to read it when you weren’t being burned out?

    Rachel: I bet you cannot guess that there are some things I disagree with in this article and there are some things I —

    John: I knew it! I knew it! See?

    Rachel: It’s not like we’re going to talk about something and I’m going to go, “Oh my goodness, this was amazing from beginning to end.” I don’t know. Maybe there has been some, but I always find something that I’m like, really? Can we talk about that? So here’s the thing.

    It starts by talking about some of the more obvious causes of burnout. The top three of course are unfair compensation, unreasonable workload, and too much overtime or after hours work, so those are the top three. So I’m thinking okay, let’s talk about how businesses can create a better and more fair compensation plan. That is actually a skill. There are people who do that as a profession. My sister is an expert in that kind of thing. And then there are some other elements in here too, so unreasonable workload, can we be using technology to automate some of these processes within your workloads to kind of ease the load a little bit, so what else can we be doing?

    And instead, the next sentence is, “But there isn’t much that we can do about that,” so we’re going to move on to the next three. I’m like, wait a minute. Can we please actually take some time and talk about the top three? So we’re not actually talking about the top three. We’re talking about the second set of three like numbers four, five, and six. It’s like how Star Wars started in Episode 4.

    John: You do bring up a point because I do think that the three that she does bring up kind of are related to the first three that are supposedly untouchable. I mean, poor management, that goes hand in hand with an unreasonable workload and too much overtime.

    Rachel: Right, yeah.

    John: So I do think that — basically, what I took out of it — I wasn’t nearly that critical, but I just took away that 95% of people are burned out and companies, they’re falling apart from the inside.

    Rachel: But 95% of companies have employees that are burned out, and the top three reasons as to why they’re burned out, we’re not going to talk about those? Those are really difficult and we’re not going to go there? Really?

    John: Just sweep them aside.

    Rachel: Anyway, not to say that there isn’t something that can be done about numbers four, five, and six, and not to say that those aren’t going to be connected to numbers one, two, and three. Anyway, there are some things that I actually did enjoy about this article, so maybe we should just start talking about those.

    John: Yeah. We should just start with those next time and then hopefully we run out of time and then everybody’s happy. But what did you like, Rachel? I’m just teasing you.

    Rachel: I actually really liked when she got on to the topics talking about the ironic dilemma, retention versus recruitment. How many times do you see on LinkedIn recruitment experts and these recruiting fairs and recruit blah, blah, blah, right? How many times do you see in that same amount of effort, that same amount of budget, that same skill set being honed to retain great talent within the organization? So first of all, you should be able to recognize when you have great talent in your organization so that you can target them for retention efforts, but another thing that I thought was really great about that is that in many cases, the high performers are the ones that are going to be experiencing burnout and sometimes often not in a way that you would expect.

    There are some people that you can just see them walking down the hall and they are burned out. Go home. Get a cup of tea. Get in bed. Just have some chill out time, something like that. But in many cases, some of your higher performers, they put so much pressure on themselves that you sometimes don’t see that they are burned out until they are so far gone burned out. Do you know what I mean?

    John: See? And that’s the part that I thought about you — wait, no, that’s still not flattering. Never mind. But that’s exactly right and I thought that that was really fascinating because if you’re focusing on your high performers and those are the ones that you want to keep around, well, you want to make sure that they are staying and they’re healthy and that they’re productive going forward and that they’re not being burned out. I guess HR and companies, they’re trying to stay ahead of this turnover and it’s like, well, if you plug the holes in a leaking boat then you don’t have to be bailing so much. You don’t have to be bringing so much new talent in if you just take care of the good talent that you have.

    Rachel: Yeah, and then it goes on to talk about HR managers talk a lot about some of the reasons why they’re restricted in those efforts, is due to budget. So I think it’s just kind of like from the executive down, just thinking that there needs to be more of an effort to do those recruiting functions, but meanwhile, there’s definitely a gap there. You know what? In all of the podcasts and all of the things that we’ve talked about though, John, it really does not take a lot of money or a ton of effort to try to keep employees engaged.

    First of all, there’s this perception of budget-wise, that should go to recruitment and not to retention, but I’m sure that even if you did have a pretty low budget, you could probably do some pretty significant things retention-wise that don’t cost you a lot of money. And of course, this is what the podcast is all about, right? What are some of those things that we can be doing with our staff or experiencing in our companies and things like that that just help stay connected.

    John: Yeah, and Scott Duda is a guy that was on the Green Apple Podcast a couple of weeks ago and he’s a great example of a partner in an accounting firm, Cherry Bekaert. And what he does with his staff and really getting them engaged and showing them that he genuinely cares about them as people is really fantastic. So yeah, check that out if you’d like. There we go. Rachel, we did it! Happy Monday!

    Rachel: Happy Monday to you, John!

    John: I will talk to you next week.

    Rachel: Yes. Take care.

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